Archive for the ‘Cold’ Category

Sometimes I have a great notion

September 12, 2020

No, I’m not snorting a line. Not right at that moment, anyway. …
Photo 1981 by Tom Warren | Corvallis Gazette-Times

Somehow I never thought of Oregon as a place that would burn.

I never thought it could burn.

In my mind Oregon remains a damp, dreary place where I spent a lot of time indoors, either working, hammered, or both. The only place I never owned a bicycle. Occasionally I walked, but only if I was too drunk to drive.

All my people were back in Colorado or in California, where I spent some months trapped in a Simon and Garfunkel song:

Asking only workman’s wages I come looking for a job

But I get no offers

When an offer finally came the job was in Corvallis, in Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley. It was good to be working again instead of sponging off friends and family, but the baggage I brought with me held more than T-shirts and jeans.

I made some friends, most of them on the job, your typical newsdog. And we had some laughs, catching Andy Irvine and Paul Brady in concert at a tiny venue downtown, or motoring to Portland to hear Johnny and the Distractions.

Occasionally I’d meet my old buddy Merrill in Seattle, a change of scenery for us both. He was trapped at a newspaper in eastern Washington, which was another sort of hell altogether.

But I spent a lot more time slouched in Squirrel’s Tavern or in my tiny apartment, huddled with my dogs next to the wood stove, or taking aimless solo drives out to the coast, places like Newport or Depoe Bay.

Mostly I remember rain, damp, the kind of cold that a Colorado winter doesn’t prepare you for, the sort that settles right down into your bones and makes itself at home. I got fat in self-defense, trying to make my bones harder to find.

If you’d told me the place would burn I’d have laughed out loud and poured another one. But I don’t drink anymore, and I’m not laughing, either.

• From Oregon Public Broadcasting: How you can help.

One more for the road

September 10, 2020

Anybody up for a cold one?

I hope the hummingbirds like their sugar water on the rocks.

The last couple days must’ve been an unpleasant surprise for the little buzzbombs.

“Goddamn it, Rufous, I told you we should’ve split for Acapulco last week! I’m freezing my tailfeathers off!”

Could be worse. Could be in Bibleburg, where Thursday’s low tied a 122-year-old record. Up there the hummers are wearing merino-wool longjohns and watch caps.

’Round about midnight

September 9, 2020

The dread Crusty County Snow Spiral of Doom. Photo by Hal Walter

A wind-driven rain blew us right out of bed last night about three hours after lights out.

I say “last night” because it was still dark. But it was just after midnight. And it sounded as though Poseidon was power-washing the house, or maybe shot-peening it, which probably doesn’t do much to harden stucco against the elements.

As I will never be smart, this was about the time it occurred to me that I probably should’ve taken down the various bird feeders hanging around and about El Rancho Pendejo, maybe cinched down the cover over the gas grill, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

But this morning, all the feeders and the grill cover remained in place. The only damage was to the plastic footlocker we use to store the cushions for our patio furniture; that sucker got blown over and one of the gas struts FUBARed.

The cushions, as you might deduce, got wet.

I estimate that we got a foot or two of rain, but since it was coming in sideways at warp 5 it only amounted to a quarter inch or so. We can expect more of the same later today, it seems. And with the weather widget showing 43° at 8:48 in the ayem it’s about as warm as it’s going to get.

About 12,000 Burqueños lost power last night, and the problem persists this morning. Khal S. reports that he and a few thousand of his fellow Santa Feos were back to kerosene lanterns, wood heat, and carrier pigeons too. Up north my man Hal Walter was likewise back to a traditional mountain lifestyle (freezing to death in the dark), and woke up to snow; the icing on the cake, as it were.

All in all, it seems a good day to stay indoors and listen to Miles Davis. Even if it’s not ’round about midnight.

Not a fan

April 13, 2020

First, the rain. Then, the snow.

Well, it was pretty easy to do the ol’ social distancing today.

The fog crept down the foothills like something out of a Sherlock Holmes movie, followed by the rain, and finally, the snow.

A fan. I’m not a fan of this fan, either.

Well, it was “snow” only in the sense that it involved fat white flakes falling, but nothing stuck around long enough to be shoveled. It certainly wouldn’t have kept a Belgian off the bike. I don’t think anything can.

But it did the trick for me. I rode the trainer for 45 minutes, which I hate, and then did a little light resistance training, which also, too, and likewise.

Still, anything beats watching our national “leadership” act more like Al Capone than Al Schweitzer. These pendejos couldn’t organize a beer run for a frat house if the liquor store were downstairs.

Feed bagged

November 29, 2019

Dinner, tabled.

Well, that could’ve gone better.

Thanksgiving 2019 proved something of a bust at El Rancho Pendejo. The mom-in-law was not feeling up to snuff after a poor night’s sleep and hardly any breakfast. A record-shattering snowfall and the subsequent need for shoveling same delayed dinner about 90 minutes. And Mama Kerr’s lemon meringue pie never came off the bench.

The paprika chicken with turnips and taters got in the game, though, as did the stir-fried succotash and baking powder biscuits.

By the time we had all the starters lined up on the field, alas, the MIL was not exactly eager to tie on the old feed bag. She nibbled a bit of this and that, and then asked to be taken back to assisted living. The abrupt changes she’s endured in the past couple of weeks — moving from sea level to altitude, trading a tropical climate for our semi-arid variety, and waking up to a historic Thanksgiving dumper — probably didn’t help matters.

But I got in a bit of upper-body work, shoveling the driveways here and at assisted living, so I got that going for me, which is nice. There are plenty of leftovers, which is nicer. And today Herself will take her mom out for a manicure and maybe a smallish bite of lunch somewhere.

Meanwhile, the merchants are pitching but I ain’t catching. Let ’em blacken someone else’s Friday, sez I.

White Thursday

November 28, 2019

The view from the Main Portal at stupid-thirty.

… the well-known precursor to Black Friday.

A reconnaissance

November 25, 2019

“A Reconnaissance,” by Frederic Remington,
liberated from the National Gallery of Art.

Saddle up, buckaroos. We’re fixin’ to mosey into the heart of the Holiday Roundup.

As is often the case, the weather seems likely to suck come Eat the Bird. Some big-ass storm is poised to gallop from Californy right through Fort Fun, taking a giant dump on many a carefully devised travel plan. Why, we may even get a dash of the white stuff here in the Duke City.

Happily, we ain’t goin’ nowhere. The mom-in-law will be joining us here at El Rancho Pendejo for the holiday feast, but this will entail a round trip of about eight miles tops. Not like those 260-mile, stop-and-go death marches we used to endure between Bibleburg and Fort Fun, watching our fellow travelers take high-speed diggers in the median and/or ditches and then clog the breakdown lanes and/or frontage roads trying to find a workaround.

Mind you, this was on dry roads. If the weather were turble bad, why, then we might really see something.

Where are all y’all bound?

Rough commute

October 26, 2019

That’s one way to beat the traffic at the Big I.

I mostly get to ride mostly whenever I please, so it’s always something of a shock to ride when circumstances dictate I do so.

Like, say, Tuesday, when it was pretty much the coldest morning we’ve had so far this fall.

How’s this for your basic socialist-realism selfie? “Forward, comrades!”

Sue Baroo the Fearsome Furster needed her 30,000-mile checkup, so off we went to Reincarnation, down off 1st and Mountain.

And since I had things to do while the rig was on the lift, this meant (a) fetching a bike along for the 15-mile trip home and (2) digging out the winter kit to go with it — tuque, tights, long-sleeve jerseys, jacket, wool socks, long-fingered gloves, in short, everything save the shoe covers.

It was worth it, though. I got two rides in, the last considerably warmer than the first. And I saw a balloon sailing low along the North Diversion Channel Trail just south of I-40.

I wonder how often the pilot has to have his rig serviced. Makes me glad all my mechanicals occur at ground level. I bet AAA won’t tow a broken-down balloon.

Mirror, mirror

January 7, 2019

Mirror, mirror, on the bar; who’s the loony in that car?

I got back on the bike on Saturday for a short spin to blow the ol’ carbon out of the cylinders.

The roads were crusty and dusty, where they weren’t wet and/or icy, so I needed something with fenders (the Soma DC) plus winter tights and a truly ancient Pearl Izumi hi-viz jacket. Seriously, this Day-Glo duster must date to 1994 or thereabouts. It’s old enough to be living in our basement (if we had one) while we paid off its college loans. “B.A.” stands for “barista’s assistant?” Who knew?

There were lots of hi-viz jackets and tights traversing Tramway, so I guess everyone was as sick as I was of huddling indoors or shoveling snow. But boom, come Sunday, we were back in the icebox and I decided to go for a squishy run instead of a second ride.

This time we got rain, which was a nice change. Don’t gotta shovel no rain.

Speaking of shoveling, I see Wally O’Steele hopes to lie straight to our faces in prime time tomorrow, eliminating the middleman (the “fake news”).

I don’t believe that the networks’ news departments are obliged to broadcast fiction — that’s the purview of their entertainment divisions — so p’raps the usual filters will remain in place.

Or maybe Comedy Central could air this piece of performance art, with Garrett Morris on a split screen, riffing on an old “Weekend Update” bit from “Saturday Night Live.”

It’d be a two-fer — delivering news for the deaf from the dumb.

• Late update: The networks blew the call, from James Fallows.

Rocking out

December 29, 2018

“Would you mind either cranking up the heat a smidge or fetching me a blanket? Thanks ever so much. Also, some delicious snacks would be nice.”

Now here’s a fella who knows what to do with a 9-degree morning. A couple medium-heavy breakfasts, a bit of grooming, and then a nice long snooze.